The Nebra Sky Disk, dated from around 1600BC clearly shows the Pleiades as a cluster of seven stars.
Our ancestors marked time with the Pleiades, from Sappho, to the country folk here in the west of Ireland…
The Moon is set,
And the Pleiades.
Night’s half gone,
I sleep alone now. ~ Sappho.
“The Pleiades are frequently known as The Stróilín, and neighbours, when visiting, or on a Céilidhe, time their departure by the position of this constellation. If the Pleiades are setting they will say “It is late, The Stróilin is going down!” ~ recorded by the Folklore Commission of Ireland.
In Celtic myth, the Sidhe are the fairy folk. Each year, on Midsummer Night, the Sidhe ride forth to the sacred circle, to initiate mortals into the mysteries of their faith.
There are times during the course of the year when the veil is thin…these are the liminal times, associated with light and dark. Light marked one half and dark the other.
The Tuatha De Danaan became the Sidhe or the Fairy folk and were described as being the same height as normal people and dressed in elegant green clothing. They had many different abilities such as turning invisible and changing their appearance, known as shapeshifting.
Ireland’s mystical people, the Sidhe. I refer to them as “people,” for we have never ceased to regard them as such; beings with feelings, culture, language and emotions. Stories have recorded their interactions with the human world across time and much of what they have bequeathed to us can be found in the landscape of Ireland; fairy forts, raths, mounds, standing stones and ancient burial sites, all have been attributed in one way or another to those we call “the Sidhe!” ( From my book, “Walking Between Worlds”).
There are certain aspects of the world of the Sidhe or fairy that we are familiar with, the foremost being the world they inhabit: Nature, in all Her wildness, beauty and mystery. It is no surprise then, that as empires rise, Nature is besieged and crushed…such is the story of the Otherworld, and, its inhabitants, the Sidhe.
Midsummer holds the magic of light and lingering dusk…a liminal time, a portal of enchantment…
It is a generally accepted part of everyday life in Ireland that the Sidhe live side by side, yet parallel, with humans and that these are the original Tuatha Dé Danann or The People of the Goddess Danu, being an early Irish race who were skilled in magic and able to escape the physical death of mortal man. It is this acceptance of their immortality that gives power and meaning to the stories we, as a nation, carry forward.